With last week’s foray into the world of Earth-2, The Flash delivered one of its best episodes of the season as we were introduced to the fun and danger of this alternate world that brought about familiar faces in unfamiliar roles. But this story was so big that it couldn’t be just one episode.
Welcome to “Escape from Earth-2.”
While I’ve been feeling a little skeptical of The Flash recently — following its sensational freshman season — the show seems to have regained its sense of direction and incredible storytelling that, quite frankly, it’s been lacking this season. I get it. It’s hard to churn out 23 episodes in a season and keep a consistently engaging story throughout even with the absence of the season’s big storyline that usually begins to unfold right around this time in a season. And add to that the incredible first season, which was going to be hard to top anyways.
But this Earth-2 journey seemed to be just the story that The Flash needed to find its footing once more as we gear up for the main stretch that will feature Barry’s battling Zoom. The whole dopplegangers device has been something that has really allowed the show to explore interesting dynamics of these characters. It’s really something that has been intriguing and enjoying to watch.
“Escape from Earth-2” found half our our Earth-1 crew fighting to escape on Earth (2) and the other half trying to save an Earth (1). When all was said and done, the gang might’ve been able to escape from Earth-2 — and close the final breach — but it certainly didn’t come without a cost that left my jaw on the ground in the final seconds.
Here’s the rundown…
When we last left our gang on Earth-2, Barry and Cisco, along with Earth-2’s Iris and Floyd Lawton, had battled a gang of Earth-2 metahumans, including Killer Frost, Deathstorm, and Reverb before Zoom sped his way onto the scene to kill the two latter — leaving a distraught Caitlin once again mourning the loss of Ronnie, only on another Earth — while Zoom kidnapped a battered Barry Allen and brought him back to his lair where he planned to steal his speed and end him once he had gotten what he’d wanted.
While the first part of this Earth-2 series featured an exciting and thrilling introduction to the world, this episode operated very much in exploring the “after” now that Zoom had captured Barry. But it wasn’t just enough for Zoom to have the Flash within his grasp — he needed to steal his speed. And he needed someone in particular to do that: Harrison Wells.
But Cisco and Wells needed to be proactive in their attempts to locate Barry and Jesse and get the hell on out of this world. So they used Earth-2 Barry, who was still locked up downstairs at STAR Labs, to bring his wife Iris in on the situation and she eventually agreed to help them find Killer Frost — the woman responsible for her father’s death — and who would lead them to Zoom. Oh, and, her cute little hubby also decided to come along.
With Earth-2 Barry’s help, they were able to pinpoint the area where they could likely find Killer Frost. Because if they were going to locate and make their way inside of Zoom’s lair — yeah, Harry, it’s a lair — they were going to need someone on the inside to help. And seeing as Reverb and Deathstorm were dead and gone — killed by Zoom — Killer Frost was their only hope.
So they journeyed into the woods where they came across Killer Frost, or Elsa as Cisco so lovingly referred to her as. While she initially put up a fight and refused to sacrifice her own life to help them and betray Zoom, Cisco appealed to her softer side when he brought up Ronnie’s death. The Caitlin he knows on his Earth is someone who cares immensely for those that she loves, and he had a good idea that Killer Frost felt the same way. So she agrees to take them to the Ascension Cliffs and uses her frozen abilities to build a way up to Zoom’s high-in-the-sky lair.
While Cisco, Wells, Earth-2 Iris, and Earth-1 Barry set off to locate Killer Frost and find Zoom’s lair, Barry was holed up in a glass prison that left him without many options — but a couple of intriguing faces, including Wells’ daughter Jesse and the Man in the Metal Mask, whose identity continued to remain a mystery following the episode’s final shot.
We saw Barry take on that heroic persona from the moment he woke up in that cell as he tried to reassure Jesse Wells that he would figure a way to get them out of there. But he also took the time to sing the praises of her father, whom she was having some doubt about seemingly finding her and rescuing her. Barry assured her that everything that her father has done since he arrived on his Earth was to save her.
But perhaps one of the biggest mysteries of the episode came with a mysterious man in a metal mask that was communicating in a sort of morse code of knocks. With the intelligences of Barry and Jesse combined the pair figured out that he was trying to communicate with them through those knocks — and they also determined the code. After some translation we discovered the word that this man was trying to say: J-A-Y. JAY. As in: Jay Garrick? Yep, that JAY.
As Barry gets another visit from Zoom — where his evil nemesis phases through his prison — Barry realizes his way out: he can phase his way out.
When Cisco, Wells, Earth-2 Iris and Barry, and Killer Frost arrive, Elsa helps free Jesse of her chains — with her chilly touch — but we discover that Barry cannot find a way to phase his way out of his prison. So he tells everyone to leave — to save themselves. He saw Barry seemingly give up. That is until his Earth-2 doppleganger took a stand to breathe inspiration into his more heroic self. “I’m just Barry Allen. But you’re The Flash.” — and ultimately helped our Barry believe in himself enough to phase through his prison cell.
Unfortunately Zoom shows up just as they’re preparing to set off — threatening to kill everyone of course — and it seems like Killer Frost really does have a heart of ice. That is until she witnesses firsthand as Zoom is about to kill Wells’ daughter in front of all of them — and is reminded of how Zoom took Ronnie from her. Then — without even thinking — she sets her frozen powers on Zoom long enough for them all to escape — except for the Man in the Iron Mask, who Barry promises he’ll come back for. Just who is the man behind that mask? We still don’t know, and it appears as if it’s a mystery that will continue to be a mystery for some time.
After they escape, Barry, Cisco, as well as Earth-2 Wells and his daughter Jesse, venture through the speed cannon to Earth-1 — although just moments before Zoom had his hands on Wells but Barry was able to quickly grab him and journey through back to Earth-1 where friendly faces — and a shocking final moment — awaited.
While there’s a battle going on in Earth-2 with Zoom, the gang on Earth-1 wasn’t exactly hanging out sipping pina coladas. There was a fight brewing between our Flash from another world, Jay Garrick, and an Earth-shifting metahuman that was practically begging for this new Flash to come out and play.
Well he surely got his wish.
With Caitlin working on Velocity-8 to help Jay get that superspeed, we learned two important and not-so-good things about it: 1) it was beginning to wear off, and 2) it was actually harming Jay more than it was helping him. But luckily Caitlin is one badass with brains who was able to whip up a Velocity-9 — and just in time so that Jay could race his way to save some people who were caught in the crossfire of Geomancer’s fight with Jay.
But there was something even better about Velocity-9: it was actually proving to be something that was helping to rebuild his cells instead of destroy them. So the question became: could Caitlin find a way to make this permanent? If so, Jay’s whole problem of slowing dying would be solved.
But as Jay took a nap — really, a nap on a superhero show just doesn’t seem like a pliable or smart thing to do — the Geomancer tracked down Team Flash to their STAR Labs lair and unleashed his forces upon Caitlin and Iris, who were able to fight him off — and Caitlin stun him with a special metahuman gun. So the whole Geomancer problem was solved. Now, back to the whole problem of ensuring Barry, Cisco, and Wells find their way home…
With Joe’s help, Jay was able to fix the speed cannon that was set off kilter with Geomancer’s arrival and allow for our friends to find their way home. They had done all they could do. Now it was their turn to make their way back.
After Barry, Cisco, Wells and his daughter Jesse had ventured through the speed cannon, they were greeted by friendly faces and Jay Garrick hurtling a bomb like a football at the breach in order to close it for good. All seemed right with this world — until Jay Garrick decidedly got too close to the breach and I swear I knew it was going to happen before it actually did. In the show’s final moment, Zoom reached his arm out of the breach and through Garrick’s chest and yanked him back to Earth-2 leaving Caitlin once again mourning the loss of someone she cares about and leaving us all stunned.
Now the question becomes: what next? And also: Is Jay Garrick still alive? Because Zoom’s arm literally phased through Jay’s chest as he hurled him back to Earth-2. It’d be too easy to believe that Garrick has met his end. Now it appears that Zoom will use him as leverage against Barry and his team in what’s poised to be one hell of a showdown coming down the stretch in these final eight episodes of the season.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.